AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — On Wednesday, Producer Owned Beef launched in Amarillo, the first and only beef processing plan of its kind in the U.S.

Producer Owned Beef said it will be owned by cattle producers and run by beef industry veterans. It was established to fill a gap in Texas’ agricultural economy.

“Texas is the number one state in the nation for cattle on feed, and we’re number three in harvest capacity. So there’s a deficiency here in this area,” said Casey Cameron, the CEO of Producer Owned Beef.

The beef processing plans will have the capacity to process 3,000 plus head of cattle per day.

The $670 million plant will be located on 1,108 acres on Jack Rabbit Road (Spur 228) between I-40 and I-27.

The capital investment is supported in part by $12.232 million from the Governor’s Enterprise Fund, as well as $11.1 million which includes 610 acres from the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation, and 10 years of tax abatements from the Highland Park School District and the City of Amarillo, along with infrastructure improvements.

“It’s a $670 million facility being built by the producers of this region, and that is a lot of money,” said Cameron. “So, the support that we’ve received locally, from the state is tremendous and it just gives us a jumpstart down the road.”

Kevin Carter, the president and CEO of the AEDC, said this is one of the largest projects in Amarillo history.

“We’re super excited to have the collaboration that we’ve had with the school district, the city, the county, the water district, and the governor’s office now with the Texas enterprise fund, that $12 million that they’re putting in, this makes this a huge investment in our community.”

Cassie Fish, the executive vice president of Producer Owned Beef, said Amarillo was their number one choice.

“Because within 100 miles is the largest number of cattle on feed in the world. So it’s the heart of the cattle feeding community. It’s great transportation, vibrant, you know, environment for economic development, and there’s an experienced workforce in this whole region of 200-250 miles around this area,” Fish said. “And then it’s a great transportation system to be able to reach the big cities to take our beef products to the grocery stores and the restaurants.”

Cameron said one of the most important aspects is that more money will stay in the local economy.

“Over the first five years, that amounts to a billion dollars that is spread back over this area instead of leaving this area,” Cameron added. “So, I think the younger generations will see a tremendous impact over time with this project.”

The Perryman Group estimated the economic benefits of operations, saying by 2027, the facility is expected to generate $1.27 billion in gross product each year and 12,863 jobs in the Amarillo/Panhandle region.

As owners, producers will receive a percentage of wholesale beef prices for the cattle they supply, plus a share of the profits from the plant.

“It’s just structured around vertical integration. It’ll be the first time in history that the producer gets to access the full value, the chain of what his cattle are really worth. It’s going to have a large impact,” said Cameron.

“It’s producer owned and the bottom line is more money in the pockets of ranchers,” said Bert Begert, a rancher who raises 400-450 Limousin cattle in the southeast portion of Hemphill County.

Begert said they are considering joining Producer Owned Beef.

“We’re looking at this producer-owned beef as an opportunity not only for our sales but for, potentially, our bull customers as a way to market calves and make money for our customers,” said Begert. “It will take some of the middleman out and really give more incentive for the rancher to do a good job in producing the cattle that will end up on the plate of our customers.”

At full capacity, the plant is expected to employ up to 1,600 people, with a payroll of $121 million annually.

“I think that they’re confident that they can find the 1,600 people to employ in the plant with the state-of-the-art facility that they’re going to have and the new ergonomic and safety measures that will be in place,” said Carter. “And so I think, you know, they’re confident that they can find the workers that they need to fill the plant.”

With very little housing inventory, Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson said the City has to be forward thinking.

“The City has been, over the last year, working with a Citizens Committee that’s going to be making recommendations to us this month about how to address future housing needs for the city,” she said. “Because the last thing we want to do is win off the charts in developing our economy and bringing new jobs, future jobs to the city, and then have a housing crisis.”

Producer Owned Beef is expected to break ground in Quarter 1 of 2023 and begin operations in Quarter 4 of 2025.

“We will have some growing pains early on but we think we have answers for all of those. It’ll take cooperation,” said Cameron. “This is rural America and we have a way of working with one another. So we feel really comfortable from that standpoint.”